9 Pillars of Fitness To Make Your Body Your Temple

9 Pillars Of Fitness That Will Build Your Body Like A Temple

Achieving the body image you desire starts with a solid foundation.

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I'm sure you've heard time and time again– consistency is key in fitness. Consistency is a part of the process of building the body that you are proud to call your own, but that's only part of the foundation. After turning 22 recently, I have had time to reflect on what fitness has done for me, as well as how I've accomplished my goals thus far in fitness and health. Through this self-reflection, I have identified my nine unofficial pillars of fitness.

1. Research

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Knowledge is power. Literally. I have poured hundreds of hours of research into dieting and exercise science over the past five years to educate myself. This has translated to increased efficiency with my workout plans, my diet, and has allowed me to help educate others by passing along helpful information. The fitness community always gives back.

2. Fruits, Veggies, and Everything Green

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I wish I could just eat cheeseburgers and pizza all day every day. But part of being an adult (and especially being a fit adult) is realizing the necessity of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Go talk to any mother of three, or take my word for it, because we'll both tell you that your colorful foods are packed with necessary micronutrients for performing your best.

3. Balance

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Lifting and cardio isn't everything. Neither is partying all the way through the weekend. Finding the balance between counting your macros or calories and simply living your best life is the key to longevity for a fit lifestyle.

4. Weights

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Ignore what I said in #3. Weights are love. Weights are life. Ladies, lifting weights won't make you look a roided-up bodybuilder. Guys, you don't have to fall victim to the gym bro cult to be a lifter. Get in the gym and put in the work, no matter what kind of work you are doing.

5. Tracking Progress

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If you expect to succeed in fitness long-term, becoming goal-oriented is crucial to avoiding a motivation burnout. Setting goals for your weight, body image, strength, endurance, diet, and non-scale goals are all great ways to track your progress and maintain ~consistency~.

6. High Protein

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You can never have whey too much protein (Get it? Whey protein?). But seriously, a high-protein diet is one of my favorite approaches to my overall diet to stay lean. Protein is satiating, and lean protein is usually low in calories so you can stay fuller, longer, without overconsuming. Also if you didn't know, ample protein is the instrument necessary for building lean muscle.

7. Time

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Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither is a fit body. Consistency (that thing I've been harping on this whole time) is vital to long-term progress. Most importantly, don't get frustrated when you do not see the results you are trying to obtain immediately. One week is nothing in the context of a five-year fitness journey, but it may seem like forever if you've only been working out for a month.

8. Rest and Recovery

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If people should be able to do anything intrinsically well, it's rest. However, we can get caught up in hustling every day to achieve results that we forget the necessity of good recovery. It takes time and experience to learn that recovery plays a larger role in your consistency than actually working out. Listen to your body first and foremost.

9. Happiness

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All in all, everything you do in your life should benefit your happiness in the long term. Trust me, you don't have to torture yourself with a "Get Skinny Quick" scheme or some fad diet where you starve. Also, you don't have to clang and bang weights for 14 hours a week or run a 5K every morning to see progress. Spend the most time finding what makes you happy AND helps you make progress — fitness won't feel like a job when you find it.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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I Reached My Weight Loss Goal, And You Can, Too

It's only impossible if you think it is.

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Would you believe I used to be 235 lbs? Me neither. Today is a special occasion for me because I have reached my goal of 160 lbs. I can now begin my next goal to 155 and then start building muscle. However, just because I was able to shed all that weight does not mean you can't do it too. Losing weight is difficult, but definitely not impossible and I dare anyone that is stuck in a rut in weight loss to go beyond their limits in exercising. So let's see my journey of how I got here and how anyone else can be this successful too.

Discipline and moderation is the main thing you need to practice. When I was 235 lbs, I was not eating the right foods. I found myself stuffing my face with junk food and high carb foods. When you don't use the short term energy, it gets stored as body fat. So I began to cut down on processed sugars and carbs and replaced it with vegetables. They are great craving killers and have helped eliminate the cravings for junk food.

It also doesn't help that I was also doing drugs. Being a former smoker and drinker, I can say that smoking cigarettes is the final nail in the coffin to bad health. You can be the most active person but alcohol and drugs will hold you back from losing weight. It gives you a ton of energy that is limited and will give you a crash when it's all used up. With therapeutic help for tobacco and alcohol and drug abuse, I will not even sniff a cigarette anymore.

Eating and drinking at night and quitting drugs is a great first start, but that's not the only way to shed fat.

Making a habit of working out and going to the gym on a consistent basis is the next most important thing you can do to lose weight. When I was dieting, I was strictly just dieting and not going to the gym. Then I started going to the gym. I started off just going twice a week and got stuck in a rut with weight loss. Then, two days became three, three became four, and now I go to the gym a bare minimum of five days a week. If I know I can't go to the gym one day, I double up the next day.

As far as the time at the gym goes, try to shoot for at least an hour. You can go to the gym for just a half hour and work your ass off and still get great results. More time in the gym does not equal better results.

But doing the same workout every day is the formula for a plateau. I alternate every day. One day, I lift weights and then the next day, I do cardio. When you do cardio the next day and your muscles are recovering from the previous day, they're burning fat and calories from your body. Doing cardio the next day burns off any extra fat on your body.

Working out makes or breaks your weight loss journey, but I saved the best for last when it comes to weight loss...liquid consumption.

Liquid consumption is last on here because honestly, there are not a lot of healthy drinks out there for you, but the ones that are healthy will skyrocket your results. The best thing you can drink is obviously water. Your body is 65, 70, don't know the exact number, sometimes pushing 80% water. Give your body what it needs and just abuse yourself with water daily.

If you have cravings, drinking a lot of water will get rid of those cravings because it fills your stomach up and flushes the unhealthy toxins out of your body. When I first started drinking a minimum of 10 cups of water a day, I lost 15 lbs because that's how much alcohol and pop I was drinking and all the water flushed it out. Some drinks you want to stay away from when trying to lose weight pop, alcohol, and fruit juices obviously but believe it or not, coffee is another one. The caffeine gives you limited energy and when it runs out, you have that crash where you are weak.

You can lose weight drinking black coffee, but I recommend staying away from it because you can still get caffeine cravings and what else has caffeine? Pop and alcohol. You will have a bunch more natural energy drinking water, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of sleep. Give your body what it needs.

Weight loss is a time-consuming process that involves a hell of a lot of pain and anger and sweat and tears, but you will thank yourself later. People may call 5'7" 160 too skinny, but I say it's not enough. You know when I say it's enough? When I say it's enough.

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